SHORTLIST CANDIDATES FOR THE EUROPEAN PRESS PRIZE 2012
NEWS REPORTING AWARD
Tom Bergin – United Kingdom – Reuters
A series of investigations on the way in which international companies, particularly Starbucks, reduce or eliminate their tax bills. Not only caused the story a fierce debat in the UK, but it also touched on the theme of tax evasion by transnational companies in general.
Orla Borg/Carsten Ellegaard Christensen/Morten Pihl – Denmark – Jyllands Posten
Story on former Danish secret agent Morten Storm, who helped the CIA locate Al-Qaida leader Anwar al-Awlaki, who was subsequently killed by an American drone attack in Yemen. The story received wide coverage in the U.S. and Europe and fed an important debate on the role of European countries in the U.S. ‘war on terror.’
James Dorsey – Germany – Turkish Daily News
Story on corruption within FIFA. Revealed possibly the worst corruption scandal in the history of world soccer. The story is part of Dorsey’s coverage of developments in the Middle East and Asia through the lens of soccer.
Adrian Mogos/Vitali Calugareanu – Romania – Balkan Investigative Network
How to buy EU citizenship – a major investigative report on the dubious way that Moldovan citizens can obtain Romanian nationality, which then grants them EU citizenship. A very fine piece of investigative reporting, and the Aluieva/Bender detail is brilliant and puts a nice peg on the entire piece.
Michael Obert – Germany – War report from Somalia
Story on 57-year old Ahmed Noor, who used to run an internet café in London, but is now the mayor of Mogadishu, where he attempts to make it a safer place. The islamist group Al-Shahaab has put a 100,000 dollar prize on his head. The story was widely published in Europe. This is war reporting at its best: writing s from an original angle and a human perspective about conflicts that receive little interest from the West. On the spot, under dangerous circumstances, well-written, informative journalism.
Miranda Patrucic (submitting editor) – Bosnia Herzegovina – Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project
Series of articles ‘The Proxy Platform’. While governments and citizens of Eastern Europe were struggling with the recent financial crisis, billions of euro’s circulated in an illegal, parallel system that enriched organized crime figures and corrupt politicians. The system is built on hundreds, maybe thousands, of ever-morphing phantom companies. Led by reporter Mihai Munteanu more than ten reporters and editors of the OCCRP worked many months to identify some of the companies involved in this laundering scheme. To their astonishment they found that many of these companies were fronts for The Sinaloan drug cartel in Mexico, Vietnamese, Russian and Moldovan organized crime groups, corrupt Ukrainian politicians, Russian officials involved in the Magnitsky affair and others. It’s a body of digging, revelatory work that goes far beyond small-scale examples of local corruption and it shows what zeal and determination (often by very young reporters) can achieve.
Prune Antoine – France – ‘M’, le magazine du Monde
Prune Antoine joined the other members of the Pussy Riot group, who secretly organised a ‘rehearsal’ of an action to support the three members imprisoned. She gives a broader, more realistic insight into the motives of the ‘Perestroika Generation’, the 20-30 years old in Russia.
Nikos Chrysoloras – Greece – Guardian Comment Network
Nikos Chrysoloras’ work is sharp and original. In this column, he explains why an Greek exit from the Eurozone would be disastrous for Greece and would hurt Europe enormously. This op-ed for the Guardian Comment Network received countless reactions.
Rubina Möhring – Austria – Blog: Pressefreiheits-Watchdog
In her blog for the online edition of Der Standard, Ms Möhring covers a wide range of topics, all relating to the issue of suppression press freedom, at home and abroad. She shows a width of knowledge, insight and energy on this issue. Impressive, non-superficial short notes on the dire situation of the quality of the media on the one hand and the threats to press freedom on the other.
Viktoria Nikichenko – Russia – Columnist for the Russian newspaper ‘Krestianin’
In her columns, Nikichenko does a very good job at debunking official propaganda and urging citizens to use their common sense in voting. Her refusal to go strident, and her obvious respect of her readers and their opinions, set her columns apart from the basic staple of Russian media.
Simon Nixon – United Kingdom – Columns ‘Agenda’ and ‘Heard on the Street’ for the Wall Street Journal
Nixon produces high-quality, well-informed and ground-breaking columns, that often challenge established wisdoms and thus contribute to the debate on pressing European issues.
Jason Cowley – United Kingdom – Editor of the New Statesman
Cowley has succeeded in revitalising the New Statesman and re-establishing its position as an influential political and cultural weekly. He has given the New Statesman an edge and a relevance to current affairs it hasn’t had for years.
Torry Pedersen – Norway – Editor of Norwegian newspaper VG
In general, VG provided outstanding coverage of the trial of Anders Breivik. Specifically, Pedersen decided to publish an internal court document, withheld from the public, on Breivik’s mental state, which stated that Breivik was psychotic while killing 77 people. The ensuing fierce public debate eventually led to a second evaluation by another expert panel which concluded that Breivik was not psychotic during the attack. He was found guilty of murdering 77 people. Without publication of the first report, Breivik would probably not have been found guilty and been detained in a psychiatric hospital.
Ihor Pochynok – Ukraine – Editor of local newspaper Express
Express is an excellent example of la local newspaper becoming the opinion leader of its region, and assuming at times a national role. Unabashedly political, though not connected to any of the parties, Express went on the barricades during the Orange Revolution, but had no hesitation in criticising the incompetence and corruption of the Yushchenko-Timoshenko government which ensued. It has in fact been in trouble with all the Ukrainian governments. It has also improved substantially its layout and content, easily becoming one of the best-produced daily’s in Ukraine.
Adam Reichardt – Poland – Editor of New Eastern Europe Quarterly
This is an extremely good and ambitious publication, combining own reporting and analysis with thoughtfully selected pieces from the media in the region it covers, and outside contributions. It is a must for anybody in Poland seriously interested in the region.
Mark Watts – United Kingdom – Editor of Exaro website
Exaro is an insightful, agenda setting website. Moreover, Watts has probably found a viable business model for serious investigative journalism. This is not standard, not-for-profit journalism, but document-based, niche performance at a high level of expertise.
Neil Arun – United Kingdom - Editor of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN)
Neil Arun is a revelation and deserves credit for not only being a very good editor but also making a real contribution to Balkans coverage that spreads the stories Europe-wide. The combination of on-the-ground reporting with high news values and excellent shaping for a total cross-border audience shows what might happen if these awards manage to produce a greater awareness of issues that cross borders.
Georgi Gotev – Belgium – EurActive website
EurActiv is easily one of the few news sites one consults daily to find out what is happening inside the EU, and for an enlightened discussion of what it means. This is due to its network of local, plugged-in and well-informed correspondents, and is particularly visible in the site’s coverage of the East.
Lukas Hässig – Switzerland – Inside Paradeplatz website
Hässig launched the website ‘Inside Paradeplatz, Finanznews aus Zürich’. Under the headlines “Stasi UBS” and “UBS – “Kripo” interrogate bankers in a special chamber”, Inside Paradeplatz exposed the methods of former policemen, employed as company detectives in the second biggest Swiss bank. Data was stored in a probably illegal way, and shared with other banks and financial companies. Hässig not only produces courageous, ground-breaking investigative journalism on the world of so-called ‘haute finance’, but his website, which is widely-read in the financial world, also has a sound business model guaranteeing its independence.
Paul Lewis – United Kingdom – Project ‘Reading the Riots’ (Guardian)
As Special Projects Editor of The Guardian, Lewis launched a research study into the causes of the summer riots in England in 2011, and into the mechanisms which led to both the violence and the rapid spreading from London to other major towns and cities all over Britain. The project was executed together with professor Tim Newburn from the London School of Economics and 30 researchers. As such, it was a unique approach for a newspaper.
More than 500 people were interviewed and their testimonials carefully analysed. This led to debunking the many assumptions about the riots, from the role of social media to the involvement of criminal gangs. It shed new light on policing tactics, response in the courts, the emotional impact on victims and the various social, political and opportunistic motivations of the disorder. Lewis says he was inspired by the Pulitzer Prize winning study into the Detroit Riots in 1967.
Ilvy Njiokiktjien / Elles van Gelder – Netherlands – Project ‘Afrikaner Blood’
The Article ‘Survival of the Whitest’ has been published in English (Telegraph Magazine), Italian In Espresso “A Scuola di Razzismo”, in The Netherlands and elsewhere. The project “Afrikaner Blood’ contains a documentary film, to be seen YouTube and shown on several film festivals, as well as photo’s and video material on online platforms. The article is well-investigated and well-written, about a subject that reaches further than the situation in South Africa: white teens trained by extreme right-wingers, a generation of isolations, self-loathing and resentment. Not only has the article been widely published, the project reached European countries, Japan and most importantly South Africa. 18 years after the end of apartheid it sparked a discussion about the current tensions and in an investigation into the training camp. The combination of content and impact, as a result of the multi-media approach is an inspiring example of what journalism can be when it reaches beyond the mainstream methods.
Frédéric Potet – France – A Year in France (Le Monde)
Eight reporters/bloggers covered events and daily life in eight French cities and villages in 2011, the year of the French presidential elections. It provided an innovative and very interesting and in-depth insight in real life, poverty, youth, crisis, sustainability in different regions of France. This could be a source for (other) journalists to find new subjects and themes. Local journalism as a window to the major issues of France and the world. Under the banner of Le Monde. Good work, beautifully executed.